The Past is the Past? The Impossibility of Erasure of Historical LGBTIQ Policing

Dwyer, Angela & Tomsen, Stephen (2015) The Past is the Past? The Impossibility of Erasure of Historical LGBTIQ Policing. In Dwyer, Angela, Ball, Matthew, & Crofts, Thomas (Eds.) Queering Criminology. Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, England, pp. 36-53.

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This paper considers the impossibility of erasing historical policing of LGBTIQ people. Significant events of LGBTIQ policing may appear to fade into the past and we perhaps assume they literally disappear – not discussed, not thought about, and erased from cultural memory. At times we see evidence of an almost nostalgic contemplation about LGBTIQ policing of the past embedded in the notion that we have moved beyond that point to the future, never to return to those histories. If we draw on the work of Foucault, an impossibility becomes apparent. Foucault suggests that discursive traces circulate in discourse and they emerge and re-emerge to shape future discourses. This paper ruminates on a case example, particularly the policing of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia, in 2013. We argue this case demonstrates Foucault’s understanding of discursive history in action: it shows how the remnant traces of historical LGBTIQ policing can re-emerge to profoundly shape LGBTIQ-police relations in the present. In addition to the case, we draw on qualitative data showing how ideas about historical LGBTIQ policing are rehearsed in a consistent cycle of iteration and reiteration through the musings of research participants across three different projects on LGBTIQ policing. We conclude therefore that LGBTIQ policing in the past may never be erased because moments reminiscent of historical LGBTIQ policing are always already circulating and undermining the governmental work of policing organisations in the present.

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ID Code: 90958
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: LGBTIQ, policing, history, Mardi Gras
ISBN: 9781137513335
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Crime & Justice Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Palgrave Macmillan
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2015 00:19
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2015 08:56

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